|PYKE, DAVID - Us Geological Survey (USGS)|
Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/15/2022
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Active management of rangeland wildlife habitat has become increasingly needed to combat a variety of contemporary challenges related to anthropogenic development, altered ecosystem dynamics, and climate factors. We reviewed relevant literature pertaining to topics related to plant community ecology, habitat needs of wildlife species, spatial and temporal factors influencing habitat dynamics, soil ecology, current and potential future climate influences on habitat ecology, and management factors used to direct desired successional changes in habitat. This body of information will serve as a compendium of information that can be used as a technical and practical reference by current and future managers, scientists, and policy makers to help make informed decisions regarding the conservation of rangeland wildlife habitat.
Technical Abstract: Rangeland manipulations have occurred for centuries. Those manipulations may have positive or negative effects on multiple wildlife species and their habitats. Some of these manipulations may result in landscape changes that fragment wildlife habitat and isolate populations. Habitat degradation and subsequent restoration may range from simple problems that are easy to restore to complex problems that require multiple interventions at multiple scales to solve. In all cases, knowledge of the wildlife species’ habitat needs throughout their life history, of their population dynamics and habitat-related sensitivities, and of their temporal and spatial scale for home ranges and genetic exchange will assist in determining appropriate restoration options. Habitat restoration will begin with an understanding of the vegetation’s successional recovery options and their time scales relative to wildlife population declines. We will discuss passive and active manipulations and their application options. Passive manipulations will focus on changes to current management. Active manipulations may include removal of undesirable vegetation using manual harvesting, mechanical, chemical, or biological methods while desirable vegetation is enhanced through the reintroduction of desirable wildlife habitat structure and function. These techniques will require monitoring of wildlife and their habitat at both the landscape level and site level in an adaptive management framework to learn from our past to improve our future management.